We become actors and lose our voice? What’s that all about?
If there is one theme that seems to run through all the questions I’ve received from actors more than any other, hands down, is fear to use our voice.
Do you remember one thing that you absolutely wanted and couldn’t stop talking or thinking about it until you got it? Maybe you couldn’t sleep because this really cute guy was occupying your mind and finally one day you “bump” into him and he asks you out! Have you ever walked in a department store with your mom and right in front of your eyes are the most amazing leopard strapped, open-toed wedges that are a “must have?” You don’t stop talking about them until your mom is convinced they, too, are the best shoes she has ever seen! How about that one destination you have always wanted to travel to, like Hawaii? It’s all you talk about and save for until you are buckled up for takeoff on Hawaiin Airlines, saying, “Aloha!”
Then, you dream to become an actor…and you lose your voice? What’s that all about?
QUESTIONS: I don’t think I should call my agent, I might be bugging him and then he won’t ever send me out again? I’m not happy with my manager, should I tell her, but if I do, she may drop me? I would love to send this casting director a note, but will that come off as brownnosing? I’m a principal in a SAG commercial, my friends are seeing me all over, but I have yet to receive any residuals. Should I call Talent Partners, or will that come off like I’m greedy?
ANSWERS: Where does this fear come from? Nothing stopped you from getting those leopard strapped open-toed wedges, or that boy or girl of your dreams or that vacation destination, so what stops you from using your voice to get the career you have always dreamed of?
I know this all too well. My voice went into hiding and it took years to find it. I feared rejection, doing the “right” thing and being “loyal to a fault.” (staying with one agent for years, because I liked them, though I didn’t like the fact that I was barely being sent out anymore)
When I first became an actor, I had no fear. I did what everyone told me not to do. “Don’t walk into an agency, send your headshot.” So, I walked in, dropped off my headshot along with a handwritten note and got called in. My first film happened to be a major movie with a major star and director attached. I didn’t get paid for the time the production company put me “on hold,” while they were deciding what dates I would be traveling to another state to shoot a couple scenes. When I confronted my agent about how I wasn’t paid for this time, she literally wanted me to “drop it.” She went on to say how lucky I was to be cast in this movie and it’s best not to start any “touble.” She was more concerned with, “You may never work in Hollywood again,” and with her reputation than doing what was fair and right.
I was shocked! I decided to take the matters into my own hands all because of some wise words I was told from a seasoned actress who played my “mom” in one of the first TV commercials I ever did—which happened to be for American Airlines. I was as “green” as they come. The set was the front doorsteps to this beautiful old house that was surrounded by rolling green hills in the San Francisco bay area. My “mom” who was playing the grandma to my kids was the seasoned actress. We were all waiting outside on the grassy hill, it was hot and there was no place to sit. I was about to sit on the lawn when my “mom” said, “We need chairs, I’m going to ask for chairs.”
My first reaction was….”Oh you don’t want to ask them for that, they are so busy and may think you are too demanding and never hire you again.”
She gently turned to me with the most comforting, experienced eyes and spoke words of wisdom, “They will respect you more for asking.”
These pearls of wisdom rang true to me, after my agent told me to “drop it.” I called the SAG offices myself. It took some time, but after a few conversations, I walked away not only with a hefty check, but with dignity, respect and grace, just for the asking. And guess what? I continued to work in Hollywood!
Over the years, I have learned that whenever I am questioning a challenging decison, I applaud and get excited about it, because I know, no matter what the outcome, the incoming message grows and changes me to be more of who I am called to be.
This is not easy, when we give our power away. This journey is about you, not what others think about you. It’s about those leopard strapped open-toed wedges, that cute boy or girl or that trip of a lifetime.
Have faith in your voice, not fear; a “no” can mean a “yes” for something bigger and greater.
You deserve your own chair, ask for it, and don’t be surprised if you get more than something to sit on…like…respect.
Until next time go to QUESTIONS AND ACTORS LIKE it and USE it!
IT’S FOR YOU!
Karen Pavlick is the new host for HSN, (Home Shopping Network.) She started off in the entertainment business as an NFL CHEERLEADER for the Raiders. This led her to an acting career, working with Robin Williams and directed by her favorite, Tom Shadyac, in PATCH ADAMS, to over 60 National TV Commercials to THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL, to opening her own production company, Hollywood Ending Films, where both of Karen’s two short films garnered BEST FILM and she was honored with “Distinguished Filmmaker.” Karen has a passion for travel, unique spas, wines, the outdoors and being surrounded by her family and friends. The next exciting adventure that awaits Karen in 2014 is the completion of her first self-help discovery book in which she hopes to help heal women’s hearts.